Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as a straight or liquidation bankruptcy, is a type of bankruptcy that can clear away many types of unsecured debts. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court places an automatic temporary stay on your current debts. This stops creditors from collecting payments, garnishing your wages, foreclosing on your home, repossessing property, evicting you or turning off your utilities. The court will take legal possession of your property and appoint a bankruptcy trustee to your case.
The trustee’s job is to review your finances and assets and oversee your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They will sell certain property the bankruptcy won’t let you keep (nonexempt property) and use the proceeds to repay your creditors. The trustee will also arrange and run a meeting between you and your creditors—called a creditor meeting—where you’ll go to a courthouse and answer questions about your filing.
At the end of the process, approximately four to six months from your initial filing, the court will discharge your remaining debts (meaning you don’t need to pay them anymore). However, some types of debts generally aren’t dis chargeable through bankruptcy, including child support, alimony, court fees, some tax debts and most student loans.
Who Qualifies For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are a few requirements you’ll need to meet to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- You generally must complete an individual or group credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing.
- Either the average of your monthly income during the previous six months must be less than the median income for the same-sized household in your state or you must pass a means test, which determines if your disposable income is high enough to make partial payments to unsecured creditors. If you don’t pass the means test, you may still be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- You can’t have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy during the past eight years.
- You can’t have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy during the past six years.
- If you tried to file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and your case was dismissed, you have to wait at least 181 days before trying again.
- You may be eligible to file, but a court could dismiss your case if it determines you’re trying to defraud your creditors. For example, if you take out a loan or use credit cards with the intent of then declaring bankruptcy to avoid repaying the debt.
To learn more about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy click here or Call Sam Henry at 322-7655.